Heads Up, CPAs – File Beneficial Ownership Reports for Your Clients NOW

July 1, 2024. 4 minute read.
By VV Sarah
Beneficial Ownership

We know you’ve been putting off filing Beneficial Owner Reports for your clients – but the end of the year is coming faster than you think.

As a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), you play a crucial role in managing and maintaining the financial health and compliance of your clients’ entities. One of the key responsibilities in this domain is ensuring the accurate and timely filing of beneficial ownership reports. This task, though sometimes viewed as a bureaucratic necessity, is fundamental to maintaining transparency, regulatory compliance, and protecting the integrity of the United States’ financial system.

Understanding Beneficial Ownership

Before delving into the specifics of filing beneficial ownership reports, it is essential to understand what beneficial ownership entails. A beneficial owner is any individual who ultimately owns or controls a company. This ownership or control can be direct or indirect. Beneficial ownership reporting is mandated by various regulatory bodies worldwide to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, tax evasion, and other financial crimes.

Regulatory Framework

In the United States, the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), enacted as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, requires certain business entities to report their beneficial owners to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). This requirement aims to create a federal database of beneficial ownership information to help law enforcement agencies detect and prevent illicit activities.

The Need for Timely Filing

The consequences of failing to file beneficial ownership reports on time can be severe, including substantial fines and penalties, legal repercussions, and reputational damage for both the client and the CPA firm. As a CPA, it is your responsibility to ensure that your clients are aware of these obligations and that the filings are completed accurately and punctually.

Steps to Filing Beneficial Ownership Reports Online

Filing beneficial ownership reports online can be a streamlined process if done correctly. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate this important task:

  1. Gather Necessary Information: Ensure you have all the required details about the beneficial owners. This includes full names, dates of birth, residential addresses, Social Security numbers (or other identifying numbers), and information about their ownership or control percentage.
  2. Create a FinCEN Account: If you or your client do not already have an account, you will need to create one on the FinCEN portal. This account will be used to submit the beneficial ownership information.
  3. Access the Online Filing System: Log in to the FinCEN portal and navigate to the beneficial ownership reporting section.
  4. Complete the Form: Fill out the necessary fields in the beneficial ownership report form. Be meticulous in entering the information to avoid errors that could result in filing rejections or delays.
  5. Review and Submit: Double-check all entered data for accuracy. Once you are confident that everything is correct, submit the report.
  6. Retain Proof of Filing: Save a copy of the submission confirmation and any correspondence from FinCEN for your records and for your client’s records.

Using Third-Party Services for Filing: Venture Vault

While filing directly through FinCEN is a straightforward process, utilizing third-party services like Venture Vault can provide added benefits, especially for CPAs managing multiple clients. Here’s why and how to use such services:

Advantages of Using Venture Vault

  1. Efficiency and Accuracy: Venture Vault’s platform is designed to simplify the filing process, reducing the risk of errors. Our automated systems and personal touch ensure that all necessary information is included and correctly formatted.
  2. Time-Saving: Managing multiple filings can be time-consuming. Venture Vault allows you to handle bulk filings more efficiently, freeing up your time for other critical tasks.
  3. Compliance and Updates: Venture Vault keeps abreast of regulatory changes and ensures that their systems are always up-to-date with the latest requirements. This reduces the burden on CPAs to constantly monitor regulatory changes.
  4. Client Management: The platform provides tools for tracking and managing client filings, making it easier to stay organized and ensure that all clients’ reports are filed on time.

How to Use Venture Vault

  1. Sign Up and Set Up Your Account: Visit the Venture Vault website and sign up for an account. You’ll need to provide basic information about your CPA firm and your clients.
  2. Upload Client Information: Use the platform’s tools to upload your clients’ beneficial ownership information. Venture Vault offers templates and guidance to ensure all necessary data is collected.
  3. Verify Data Accuracy: Before submitting, Venture Vault’s system will check for common errors and omissions, helping to ensure that your filings are accurate.
  4. Submit Reports: Once verified, submit the beneficial ownership reports through Venture Vault. The platform will handle the submission to FinCEN on your behalf.
  5. Monitor and Manage Filings: Use our platform’s dashboard to track the status of each filing, receive notifications of any issues, and manage deadlines to ensure compliance.

Best Practices for CPAs

Consider the following best practices when filing beneficial ownership reports:

  1. Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with the latest regulatory changes and guidelines from FinCEN and other relevant bodies.
  2. Educate Your Clients: Ensure your clients understand the importance of beneficial ownership reporting and their responsibilities. Provide them with clear instructions on what information they need to provide.
  3. Implement Robust Record-Keeping: Maintain thorough records of all beneficial ownership filings, including submission confirmations and any correspondence with regulatory bodies.
  4. Utilize Technology: Leverage online filing systems and third-party services like Venture Vault to streamline the filing process and reduce the risk of errors.
  5. Conduct Regular Audits: Periodically review your clients’ beneficial ownership information to ensure it remains accurate and up-to-date.


Filing beneficial ownership reports is a critical task for CPAs, necessary to ensure regulatory compliance and protect the integrity of the financial system. By understanding the importance of these reports and utilizing efficient filing methods, including third-party services, you can provide exceptional service to your clients while maintaining compliance with the law.

Embrace the tools and resources available to you, stay informed about regulatory changes, and educate your clients to ensure a smooth and effective filing process. Your diligence and expertise in this area not only uphold legal standards but also contribute to the broader fight against financial crimes, benefiting society as a whole.


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